Monday, April 23, 2007

Truths We Build

I was just sitting in a local Wegmans having lunch when I over heard two people having a great conversation about the Bible and relationships with God. I couldn't help but encourage their conversation and seeking. After a brief conversation, thank you to the two of you if you are reading, I drove the 30 minutes back to my home. During that drive I was reviewing the ways in which we as human beings add to the requirements to follow after God through Jesus Christ. Often we fall into the trap of building a system of rules, regulations and rights, instead of building a relationship with our creator and redeemer. As we shy away from relationship toward rules and regulations we think that we can reach a point where we have it all figured out. How tragic is it when we think we have it all figured out? I think the most liberating thing for me as a pastor is that I don't have to know everything, none of us do, and it is a good thing because we will never know everything. When we claim that we know something absolutely we are on some dangerous ground, all people are in process and on a journey. I wish that the church and fellow Christ followers would stop putting barriers in front of people seeking after God. To wrap us this entry I want to close with this. There are only a few things that I can say with certainty when it comes to God. God is the creator of all people and all of creation. Jesus is the only way to a full relationship with the God of creation. And the Holy Spirit continues to develop the people of God, through the church. Finally that we should fashion our lives after the life of Jesus. Everything else is food for great, important and necessary conversation.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Those who mean the most

Today I don't have as much a question, or an issue of the church directly. This whole week I have been really wrapped up in thinking about the people that are most important to me. For me that is my wife and three daughters. I do not have to even spend time thinking about who the most important people are to me, yet all too often they get the short end of my time. I have always had an inner and sometimes an outer conflict around this issue, but this week it is really intense. Having rambled long enough, I am challenging myself and all of us to not just talk about spending time with those who are closest to us, but to actually do it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

By Judgment or love?

Once again I found myself reading yet another book, this time it was, "No Perfect People Allowed" by John Burke. Throughout the book he addresses the issues as to why people are turned off by the church. At the heart of the issue this key idea, do the people around you know more about what you stand against, than what you actually live for? I know in my own life I have been very proficient at determining what thinks I have thought to be wrong, or the things that the church should make a stand against. This in itself is not a bad thing. I think that people should have a sense of what they think is right and wrong, and that the body of Christ should have standards of conduct. However, these issues should not be how we are known. Taking a good look at Jesus shows that he spent more time showing what he believed, by how he lived his life. Jesus did not go around organizing protests, or yelling at the top of his lungs about all the things that society was doing wrong, he simply called people to a life based on the love of God, ultimately seen at Calvary. I am left to wonder if people know who I am and what I believe based on the judgemental attitude I too often carry, or do people know who I am by the moments where I actually live out the life God calls me to through Jesus Christ. Additionally, I am left to wonder how I can remain faithful to the truths and standards of God, while accepting people where they are and for who they are, without judgement. Jesus did not agree with all the lifestyles of the people he interacted with, yet I think that people walked away from an interaction with Jesus being overwhelmed by love, acceptance and grace. It is almost unbelievable that Jesus would ascribe value to everyone equally, enough to sacrifice his life out of love.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Whom Shall we Serve

I have been reading the book "The Myth of a Christian Nation" by Gregory Boyd. I have been just fascinated by what the author has to say in regards to the need for the church to be more like Christ and less like the rest of the world. He uses a great contrast of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. Boyd points out that the church, especially the "conservative evangelical" church has used the techniques of this world not of the kingdom of God. My take on what he has to say is that we need to not sit around and criticize the moral state of our nation, or call the action back to its Christian roots. What those who are Christ Followers need to be doing is coming along side of those who we would call sinners instead of judging them. I realize that classifying groups of people as sinners I am doing some judgement, and revealing some of my theological leanings. The point, however is that Jesus identified people as having sin in their life, but did not judge them, even though He is the only one who has the right to judge. Instead Jesus spent his time with those who were notorious sinners, and those that were the outcasts of society. The church of today has become sterile, dual meaning intended. We all too often like things nice neat and clean, and we expect the same of the people we interact with. The church has become sterile in that it often fails to reproduce, not itself but the Calvary love of God. So, we are left to ponder what do we do now? We could lament about what needs to be done, or we could answer the call. Not the call to programs and artificial care. But answer the call to be ever increasing in our Christlikeness. Every Christ Follower, not just a select few, should be spending their life serving those who Christ served. We should do with with all that we are and everything we have. Question to chew on: would Jesus be a republican, democrat or independent?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Join the Journey

After much debate and doubt I decided it was time to step into the arena of blogging. I am not real sure what will come of this space and effort but I know what I am hoping for. I am hoping that this can be a place where ideas will be exchanged about what many are calling the emerging church. Many think that the emerging church is just for those who are in a certain age bracket, however I think this is all wrong. The so called emerging church is more about people of any age, race, background or lifestyle who are seeking to know God. The so called emerging church is a gathering of people, and minds, who think the church has been missing the point to some degree in the past few decades and possibly centuries. The so called emerging church is a gathering of people who are politically active as individuals, but more concerned as a church with collectively being the Body of Christ. This means radically living a life based on the teachings and life of Jesus Christ. I want to be clear that no one, myself included, ever lives the life Christ taught and showed every moment of every day. Still there are some who are working to live more and more like Christ everyday. I invite you to join in this journey and see how God uses all of us. I will start with a question, what is the most significant issue facing the church today?